Semis in Reserves and Under 17 show depth of competition
Reserve Grade sees one of the great fairy tales of local AFL as Northern Beaches Blues play Finals footy in their first season back in the competition. After 13 years in the wilderness the Blues are just one win away from a Grand Final berth but must overcome Coffs Harbour Breakers to claim their place in the big dance.
The Blues have a number of players amongst their ranks that wore the teal of the Breakers in recent seasons. Breakers won’t be distracted by either friendships or fairy tales and will be singularly focussed on moving towards winning the only male grade that they club is yet to claim.
In the head to head contest, Northern Beaches shade the results having won three times against Breakers two. Two of these results were decided by less than a goal so the indicators are there that this is likely to be an arm wrestle.
In the Under 17 match, Sawtell Toormina Saints take on Coffs Harbour Breakers in the only local derby of the day.
A core of the Saints team came from last season’s premiership winning Under 15 group and they have taken to the older age group like ducks to water. In fact, a number of the team have been doubling up in either Seniors or Reserves each week and will be pleased to know that they can focus on playing one match only in this first week of the Finals.
The Saints haven’t won an underage flag since 2010 and this team is best placed to buck that trend.
The Breakers have had a great production line through this age group, having played in all four of the last Grand Finals, winning two.
In the 2019 season to date, Breakers won a tight first encounter between the two teams, before Sawtell claimed the next four. The margin of Sawtell’s victories in three of these matches was very healthy but in the most recent match-up the Breakers clawed back significant ground to get within two goals.
Neither side will give an inch in this encounter and expectations are high for a shootout.
A fundraiser will be conducted over the course of the Finals Series where donations will go to drought affected farmers in the North West of the state. AFL North Coast has a long association with AFL North West NSW and any help we can give to a region that is gripped by the worst drought in generations will be greatly appreciated. Please look for donations tins at the ticket box, cafe, canteen, and bar and give whatever you can manage.
Qualifying Semi Finals – Saturday 24 August
10:00am Under 17 – Sawtell Toormina Saints v Coffs Harbour Breakers
11:50am Women’s – Coffs Harbour Breakers v Port Macquarie Magpies
1:20pm Reserves – Northern Beaches Blues v Coffs Harbour Breakers
2:50pm Seniors – Coffs Harbour Breakers v Port Macquarie Magpies